I doubt we'll offend anyone by declaring that Riverdale is far from a food lover's neighborhood. Locals gripe about the difficulty of finding neighborhood spots worth seeking out, and we've only come across a few places really worth spending on. There's Mother's Bake Shop, an old school kosher bakery, Liebman's, one of the last Jewish delis in the Bronx, and a recently opened branch of Estrellita Poblana. After a satisfying meal at Greek Express, we can add another to our short—but growing—list of worthy Riverdale eats.
If your first impulse is to snag a sandwich, you're strongly advised to skip the Pork Souvlaki ($6). The meat is dry and rendered flavorless, as anonymous as a protein can be. We'll have to return to weigh in on the gyro ($7.50)
While that pork souvlaki is a dud, our gripes end here. Greek Express's Kolokithokeftedes ($6.50), or zucchini fritters, are among the best fried treats we've found in the borough.
Served with a side of tzatziki sauce, these thick medallions could stand to be a little crisper on the outside, but we like them very much just as they are. Inside, the mash of zucchini is still soft, providing just the right textural contrast, and punctuated with mint. The herb's refreshing, bright flavor marries perfectly with the tzatziki, enough to make it a snack worth seeking out. More mint in our fried food, please.
Greek Express serves a standup Spanakopita as well, with a generous filling of creamy spinach and mild feta cheese that would make an ideal breakfast alongside a cup of their Greek coffee ($3). Greek Express's spanakopita does not rival Bouboki's excellent version, and is not without its flaws, which begin and end with a phyllo that could be sturdier. But it's a fine rendition nonetheless. The kitchen here likewise produces a Melomakarona (2 for $3), which is a little dry but not cloying sweet. It is a fine substitute for the uptown set unwilling to make the pilgrimage to Artropolis.
We'll be coming back to check out their gyro, loukaniko sausage, and rice pudding. But in the meantime, get your hands on those kolokithokeftedes—you don't know what you're missing.
About the author: Chris Crowley is the author of the Bronx Eats and Anatomy of A Smorgasburg Pop Up columns. Follow him on Twitter, if you'd like. In person, your best bet is the window seat at Neerob, or waiting in line at the Lechonera La Piranha trailer.